22 pounds of coffee grounds can generate up to half a gallon of biofuel.
Researchers at the University of Bath in England have revealed that used coffee grounds can be turned into biofuel capable of powering conventional gas-burning cars.
Scientists found that it is possible to make up to half a gallon of biofuel from 22 pounds of ground coffee beans by extracting the oil contained in the grounds using an organic solvent. 22 pounds is a lot on paper but it pales in comparison to the amount of grounds thrown away every day by the nation's coffee industry.
Additionally, coffee grounds are billed as more eco-friendly than other substances currently used to make biofuel.
"[Coffee ground] oil also has similar properties to current feedstocks used to make biofuels. But, while those are cultivated specifically to produce fuel, spent coffee grounds are waste," explained Chris Chuck, one of the scientists who worked on the project.
The team made biofuel using ground coffee sourced from over 20 regions all around the world. They also found that internal combustion engines can run on either regular coffee or decaf, though it is too early to tell what effect burning coffee has on an engine in the long run.
Scientists warn that coffee is unlikely to power the global auto industry in the near future. However, companies such as Starbucks could use waste grounds to power their fleet of delivery vehicles.
Photo by Ronan Glon.